In the summertime when the honey is ready from the hive, senior Theo Moleski gently rakes the honeycomb off the frames with a sharp comb.
When done raking he carefully puts the honeycomb in the extractor. When all the honey is removed from the frames he fills the honey he has collected into jars and soon sells them.
But this craft isn’t something that Molseki mastered in a day, month, or even a year. It is a practice he has been working on for a long time. In 6th grade after going to a friend's house and seeing a beehive, Moleski got interested in making a hive of his own.
“My friend's mom was doing it,” Theo said. “So I was interested in it, and she helped me set it up.”
SWEET AS HONEY (LEFT): Senior Theo Moleski tends to one of the beehives in his backyard. He has been raising bees to harvest honey and wax since sixth grade. (Photo by Grace Ostric)
Moleski quickly caught on and began harvesting his honey. He created a place in his backyard where he stores his bees. When he figured out how to be a beekeeper, Moleski needed a place to sell his honey. He started selling them at Tlaquepaque and Celtic Seasonings in downtown Grand Haven, but his honey is not currently in stores.
“For me at least selling my stuff is probably the hardest part,” Moleski said.
If someone is interested in buying honey they should make sure to contact Moleski. There are other challenges of being a beekeeper, one is keeping the bees alive and pollinated, especially in the winter.
BEE BROS (RIGHT): 12 oz honey that is sold by Moleski.
Raising the hives isn’t a solo operation for Moleski. With the help of his sister Lani Moleski and their parents, Theo is able to achieve his beehives.
“My parents were totally into it,” Theo said. “We created safe space in our backyard to keep the bees alive. My dad helped me build the hives, which are cheaper to build, rather than buying them.”
Each member of the family has a job to contribute to the hives.
“I do more of the advertisement,” Lani said. “I help with the sales and keep track of the money. And Theo and my mom go into the hive and do the bee stuff. But we both extract the honey together and put them into jars.”
THE MOLESKI TEAM (LEFT): Theo doesn't do the work on his own, his sister Lani also contributes. (photo by Grace Ostric)
After high school, Theo does not want to pursue this hobby as a permanent career, but he wants to continue doing it in some form. The bees have kept him busy over the years and the hobby has challenged him to reach out to other people who are interested in making a hive of their own.
“I try to reach out to other people,” Theo said. “And go out of my way and help them build their own beehive. I have helped about two of my friends build their own.”
Being a beekeeper is not common for young students like Theo. Some may think it is a hard job, or that it is scary because you are surrounded by bees. But if a 6th grader can do it and not be afraid, anyone can.
“It’s not something that should be feared,” Theo said. “It’s something that’s really easy and fun.”
CARING FOR THE BEES (LEFT): Theo checks on the bees to make sure they are surviving the winter. (photo by Grace Ostric)